Lynn and I stood on across town on Hampton Blvd in Norfolk after another post-due-date prenatal visit. Since this was our fifth overdue pregnancy, we were not really surprised. It was a nice day and we could not get hold of our ride, but we new her route so we decided to start walk toward the house. 5 miles later, we finally got that expected ride. The following day, with Lynn exhausted and in pain from our little stroll, Sam decided to grace us with his presence.
9 days later we were back in the hospital. Spinal taps, little baby IVs and sleepless nights, oxygen tents and quarantine. (Maybe this is where he got his love for camping) Sarah had had some health issues, but Sam was trying to catch up quick. Turned out to be RSV (A relatively new diagnosis back in that day). This began two years of non-stop ear infections, respiratory issues and camping at the clinic. Good thing he was the only sick child … oh wait … there were four others, including the also plague ridden May baby Sarah.
Sick child equates to miserable pitiful bed ridden child …NOT! Sam was everywhere and into everything. He was Ninja (mysteriously appeared on top of the refrigerator) and a miniature mechanic (Removed every nut and bolt from my wheel barrow without it falling apart … until I went to use it). He was a good natured little boy, but pretty non-verbal and hard headed. He seemed to not listen to a word you said … unless he was looking at you. Wait could that be a symptom of something?
Sam – I – Am. At two years old, it was finally decided that antibiotics were not the answer to these constant ear infections. Let’s try tubes. Did I say non-verbal. Overnight he went from non-verbal to very verbal. Enter Green, Eggs & Ham. If you would like … I can quote the whole book to you right now. If you asked Sam his name, was Sam-I-Am. Am would talk non-stop for hours. He did not really care if you listened or not. I am not sure if liked to talk or just liked to here himself since for so long he could not.
Silence of the Sam: As much as one might think that the constant noise would be a problem, it probably saved his life on occasion, because when the noise stopped, we knew that there was a problem… the silent alarm. Silence in the back yard – the shed is on fire. Silence in the living room – crayons in the VCR. Silence on the stairs – beautiful pictures on the wall. You get the picture. We loved Sam’s voice.
The ears were better, but the lungs were not quite right. After another hospital stay, the doctors finally concluded at age 4 that Sam was asthmatic. So this non-stop little boy was forced to succumb to the nebulizer several times a day. Five or ten minutes might seem like a short period of time, but to Sam it was an eternity. He had had about enough.
Faith of a child: In 1994, shortly after moving to Georgia, we were attending a Sunday evening service at church. Pastor Jim asked if anyone wanted to be prayed to be healed. Before we knew it, Sam had jumped out of his seat and run up to the alter. He told Pastor Jim that he was tired of having asthma and wanted it gone. Prayer was given, prayer was received, asthma … gone. Coincidence … change of climate … or the faith of a small boy believing in a big God. All I can say is that we have a nebulizer in the attic that has not been used since that day.
“The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matt 23:11,12)
Servant: Born with a servants heart, same has always wanted to be a helper. From the nursery (when he was in it), to JBQ, to youth group and missions trips to Nicaragua and Mexico, and now to the friends, Sam will often work for others and neglect even his own needs at times. I have often been angered by those that have taken advantage of him and hurt him at times. People have stretched him beyond his ability to give at times. Obviously, saying ‘no’ is an option, but it is really not in his nature. He is happiest when he is helping and feels a part of success.
If struggle makes us stronger, than my boy is strong beyond measure. He has been fighting and overcoming from the day he was born. I often envy his determination and drive to learn despite the many difficulties he has had to overcome. His optimism, although often dampened by circumstances always shines through. I look forward with great excitement to great things that are in store for this young man of God.
Sam, you have been an encouragement to me for years. God has used you to change me. Your faith and enthusiasm have bolstered my own faith on many occasions.
I love you Bud and look forward to pressing on with you.
“Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge,and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken,but the feeble bind on strength.” (1 Sam 2:3,4)
“And the Lordcame and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”( 1 Sam 3:10)